Author: Tracy

Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Posted September 13, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott Series #5
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care, Someone to Honor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband's passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love...

Colin and Elizabeth start off as friends in this book.  They are both looking for the same thing – marriage – but since Elizabeth is 9 years older than Colin they don’t really even think about marrying each other.  There is a spark and a sparkle there – and Colin constantly teases Elizabeth that he could marry him, but then plays it off as a joke.  She’s a little hurt by his teasing, but is Colin truly teasing her or is there a vein of seriousness in him?

While the story started off slowly it soon picked up and I was pretty invested in the romance.  I really liked both Colin and Elizabeth and wanted them together.  Yes, she was 9 years older than Colin and that age thing got a little old, I’m not gonna lie.  Colin was so adorable and kind, and I loved his character so much.  I’m glad that they finally worked things out, but it took a little too long to get there.  This actually could have been a novella and been perfect.

The overwhelming Wescott family irritated me in this book.  Not that any of them did anything wrong, truly they didn’t, but having to remember who is who was getting to me.  I love that they are so supportive of each other, but it got to a point where I just wanted them to all go away.

While I didn’t like this as much as I liked books 2, 3 & 4 in the series, it was still a lovely romance and worth reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Wescott

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Highland Guard by Hannah Howell

Posted September 12, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Highland Guard by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
Highland Guard by Hannah Howell
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Murray Family #20
Also in this series: Highland Groom, Highland Devil (Murray Family #22), Highland Wolf
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 08:02
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Lady Annys MacQueen has no other choice. The deception that enabled her to keep her lands safe is on the verge of being revealed by a cruel kinsman. To shield her young son from the sword and her people from devastation, she must turn to the one man she could never forget. . .

He lives for duty and honor. So the only way Sir Harcourt Murray could repay the laird who saved his life was to agree to father a child with Sir MacQueen's wife. . .Lady Annys. Now the passion he still feels for the lovely strong-willed widow is as all-consuming and perilous as securing her lands. But to convince her that his love is forever real means confronting her most wrenching fears—and putting everything they treasure most at stake.

Annys MacQueen’s husband has died. Now she has kinsman who are trying to take her estate and lands away from her, stating that her son is not really a MacQueen. Annys doesn’t want to lose her lands, but they’re actually correct in believing that the child was not the laird’s. The Laird had actually contacted Harcourt Murray to come and father a child with his wife, since he was incapable of fathering children.

While Annys and Harcourt were together getting her pregnant, Annys fell for Harcourt. She loved her husband, but she was in love with Harcourt.  Harcourt has never forgotten Annys and thinks of her often. He would’ve liked nothing more than to stay with her forever, but he was only there for duty and to repay Laird MacQueen for saving his life. When Annys calls for him to help her save her lands, Harcourt is unprepared for the love he feels for both Annys and the child he fathered. Benet is adorable, amazing, precocious and just all-around wonderful and he never wants to be without them.

I ended up listening to this in audiobook. I very much enjoyed Angela Dawe as narrator and enjoyed the story immensely. I thought that Howell did a very good job in bringing these two people together, and I enjoyed their romance.

I thought I would have more of an issue with this one then I actually did. I don’t like infidelity in books, but for some reason this just worked for me.

While Hannah Howell’s Murray books are all very similar, this one stood out a little bit and I very much enjoyed it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Murray Family

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle Willingham

Posted September 10, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle WillinghamReviewer: Tracy
The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle Willingham
Series: Untamed Highlanders #1
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A ruined lady turned governess

Can she tame the Highlander?

Part of Untamed Highlanders. When Frances Goodson is summoned to Scotland to give etiquette lessons, she’s not expecting to tutor a handsome laird! The scandal of her past means going home is not an option, so she must help wild, scarred Lachlan MacKinloch win a wealthy London heiress. She’s determined to fulfill her task and not get distracted by the passion she sees in the powerful laird’s eyes…

Frances Goodson arrives in Scotland and is impressed by the grandeur of the castle where she’s been hired to be a governess.  She’s been told nothing about her charges, but she can’t wait to get started.

When she finally is admitted to the home, she finds out that the Laird’s mother had hired a governess behind her son’s back because she thought he needed help with his manners and etiquette.  He’s to hopefully get engaged to a London lady soon, and the mother wants nothing to get in the way of that happening.

The Laird, Lachlan McKinloch, wants nothing to do with the governess or her etiquette lessons.  He orders her out of the house at once.  She talks him into letting her stay one day but then he insists she must leave.  One day turns to two and then soon she’s there for a month.

Frances is running from a scandal and poverty.  She was from a good family but they turned their backs on her when scandal hit.  Frances will do anything to stay away from London, even stay in Scotland and work for no wages.

Frances is able to get the Laird to work on etiquette like the proper fork to use, dancing, and the biggie: the need to always have a chaperone. Of course they don’t always, and next thing you know the two are falling in love.  Unfortunately the London hopeful has 20,000 pounds as a dowry so Lachlan can’t marry Frances as he needs the money the marriage will bring to save his people, who are starving.  His father wasn’t good with money before he died and made the arrangements with his best friend for their kids to marry.

I really liked this book up until the point where Frances and Lachlan return to London, then it just turned into a disaster.  I knew that Lachlan didn’t want to marry the other girl, but he knew that he was going to, no matter what.  That didn’t stop him from sleeping with Frances right after he asked the other woman to marry him! My God, Lachlan, have some honor!  Frances wasn’t much better but letting him when her brain was saying “no, this isn’t right.” Smart brain.  It all works out in the end but not before some serious issues that I really didn’t think made up for Lachlan’s behavior.

Overall it was a decent story, but not one I loved. You’ll probably have to read it for yourself and see what you think about Lachlan’s actions as well as some of the secondary characters.  If you do, please let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted September 3, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Greycourt #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 468
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins—sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous—a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya's trust-by whatever means necessary.

Features a bonus novella from New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes!

Freya de Moray is a member of the Wise Women. A lot of people think of these wise women as witches, but they’re not. Of course there is a group of witch hunters which are called Dunkelders and they chase down wise women. Of course.

Let me just stop right there and tell you that the whole wise women/dunkelder thing completely turned me off. This is an Elizabeth Hoyt book so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, but this whole secret society and people who think they’re witches, it just doesn’t work.

So Freya is going to a house party to go after someone who she thinks is responsible for her brothers downfall and in the meantime looking into the disappearance of a woman from the house next-door. Of course this isn’t going to work out well for her because we have to have angst, right? 🤦‍♀️  Freya ends up getting herself in a bind, as was expected. Of course the “hero” of the story has to save her. I really would have liked it if Freya could have saved herself. If this is what a wise woman looks like, I don’t want to see a stupid one.

Then we have the hero who is being blackmailed by someone at the house party because his dead wife wrote some letters which he doesn’t want anyone to see.   Could we add just one more plot point to the story, please? Despite that wild point, I really liked the hero.  He truly fell so deeply in love with Freya and she was just like, “meh.”  I mean, she eventually comes around and falls in love with him, but I just wasn’t feeling it from her at all.

In this story Hoyt was so invested in Freya and the wise women as well as the dunkelders, kidnappers, and murderers, not to mention witches, that the romance was nearly nonexistent.  Romance is one of the things that Hoyt excels at, and that’s one of the reasons why I read her books.  Unfortunately I have no desire whatsoever to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Posted August 30, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. AikenReviewer: Tracy
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #1
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken. The Old King Is Dead With the demise of the Old King, there's a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king's sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it's all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn't have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned ...

Keeley is a blacksmith and loves what she does.  She comes from a long line of female blacksmiths and doesn’t plan on ever doing anything else. She has a large loving family and loves taking care of them as well.  When she finds out that her bookish (and she feels, not too smart) younger sister, Beatrix, is prophesied to be the next Queen, Keeley is a little skeptical, but totally supports her sister.  When one of the sons of the recently deceased king shows up to execute Beatrix (they want no one on the throne but themselves), Keeley protects the family, along with her War Monk sister, Gemma, and four Centaurs called the Amichai that show up to protect Beatrix as well.

Keeley and Gemma get their family to safety after being attacked, and then make their way to the Witches of Amhuinn to verify with their seer that Beatrix is in fact the true prophesied queen.  When their Seer stands before Beatrix she states that yes, Beatrix will be queen, but then she points to Keeley and states, and so will she.   Beatrix isn’t happy about this additional prophesy at all.  She takes off and no one knows where she goes after trying to take matters with Keeley into her own hands.  After the witches stronghold is attacked, an injured Keeley is taken to the Amichai’s homeland to heal.

Keeley doesn’t want to be queen but after much deliberation and arguing she finally resigns herself to the fact that this is what needs to happen to save their lands.  She then heads out to drum up an army.

This book was a good one.  Set in Aiken’s Dragon Kin world yet far removed from the dragons.  In fact Keeley had only heard rumors about dragons being real.  I liked the characters and the beginning of what I hope will end up being a fantastic series.

I liked Keeley a lot despite the fact that she was rude at times and completely vicious when it came to fighting.  Besides that she was a pretty darned happy person and liked to smile.  People would underestimate her because she was a blacksmith and a fighter, and happy, thinking she was dumb, but she was actually quite brilliant.

During the course of the book Keeley starts falling for one of the centaurs named Caid.  He falls for her too and endures endless teasing from his siblings.  It’s hilarious.  While they “get together” in this book there’s only a tad bit of what would be considered romance.  Neither Caid nor Keeley are the romantic type so take that into consideration.

Overall I liked the story.  There was quite a bit of action in the book (read: fight scenes) but it worked for what the characters were trying to accomplish.  The Dragon Kin series books were definitely romance, with each book having its own hero and heroine – which was what I was expecting with this book.  Despite my disappointment in not getting a true romance, I thought it was good.  This book ended without a conclusion, so we’ll have to wait until the series continues before I can find out what happens to Keeley as queen and with her and Caid.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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